Baby Tip: Improving Self-Play at 6-Months-Old

Photo of my 6-month-old son sitting on foam mats in his spacious playpen, pulling a toy out of a small plastic bin. Already on the floor is a stuffed polar bear, tambourine-like toy and fabric crab toy.

Here’s a tip for that narrow time frame when your baby can sit upright, but not crawl… when he can entertain himself with toys, but will also throw or kick them away.

It’s an issue of time — how do you lengthen the time between toy placement and the baby crying because toys have moved out-of-reach?

Dad’s solution: Place multiple toys on the floor around him.

Mom’s solution: Place lots of toys in a small bin next to the baby.

Mom’s idea allows for a greater concentration of toys that he can’t quickly kick or swat away. The kid has to physically lift each toy out, which is good for motor skills and becomes its own exploration activity. We expect him to soon learn to refill the bin, which would be hitting the mark for his developmental stage.

(Caution: don’t try this if your kid falls over when in a seated position. And yes, I understand the whole ‘entice baby to crawl by placing toys out of reach’ thing; we do that too.)

When I began writing this post, I was going to emphasize the differences in parenting techniques and problem solving between Moms and Dads.

Can you think of activities or problem solving situations that your spouse is better at handling than you?


8 Responses to “Baby Tip: Improving Self-Play at 6-Months-Old”

  1. Janis says:

    When our son is upset, I tend to want to soothe him or offer light distractions, where my husband gets loud and makes funny faces to incite laughter – he’s usually much more successful than me!

    October 2nd, 2008 at 6:37 am

  2. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    Interesting. Our son crawled before he sat up. (by 3 days. But still)

    October 2nd, 2008 at 12:05 pm

  3. Amber says:

    1. Just how big IS that playpen?

    and 2. Where did you get it?

    October 2nd, 2008 at 7:23 pm

  4. Cathy @ Chief Family Officer says:

    Honestly, my husband is a much better parent than I am in a lot of ways. Our strengths are so different. He’s better than I am at meeting our kids’ emotional needs – he just “gets” them better than I do. Don’t get me wrong, I do okay, and I’m better at other things. But there are definitely times when I feel inadequate compared to him.

    October 2nd, 2008 at 7:53 pm

  5. Nancy says:

    My husband is much better at calming my 5 year old son down when he’s legitimately upset, like when he was having an asthma attack and was so freaked out he couldn’t breathe in the inhaler, or when he was constipated and had been in the bathroom 15 times and still nothing would come out and it was the middle of the night so he was exhausted and his tummy hurt and and and…

    Yeah. I get kicked out of the room and Daddy is able to calm him down. I try to be calm, I really do, but he must sense my anxiety and it doesn’t help matters.

    October 3rd, 2008 at 11:25 am

  6. Karen says:

    Thank you for the tip! I like the idea of having a box of toys. I’m so busy right now that I cannot keep going back to pick up his toys so is reachable to him.

    October 5th, 2008 at 12:26 pm

  7. Jen says:

    I have a feeling my five month old will crawl before she can sit up. She’s already well on her way.

    Anyway, when my oldest was that age, (and it was a good 4 months before she crawled), I’d do something similar. Works great!

    My husband is far better at the ultimate creative play that my daughter thrives with. I can do some serious imagining, but the stuff that they come up with is way more fantastic than I can dream.

    October 6th, 2008 at 2:51 pm

  8. AJ says:

    MBR, my son isn’t sitting himself up yet. He sits upright and plays with toys when we position him that way.

    Amber, I’ll answer the playpen question in an upcoming review.

    October 6th, 2008 at 8:08 pm

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